Treehouse Masters tackles special-needs design

Posted: July 25, 2013 at 2:57 a.m.

Pete Nelson is the host of Animal Planet’s fun series, Treehouse Masters. Friday’s episode at 9 p.m. is a back-to-basics offering for a family with special-needs kids.

Pete Nelson is the host of Animal Planet’s fun series, Treehouse Masters. Friday’s episode at 9 p.m. is a back-to-basics offering for a family with special-needs kids.

Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters is my new favorite program.

Clarification. It’s my new favorite unscripted program that doesn’t feature anybody handling snakes or alligators or making Southerners look like yahoo hayseeds.

Not that there’s anything wrong with yahoo hayseeds. They’re the salt of the earth.

Treehouse Masters combines a likable host, his gregarious band of intrepid carpenters, and the magic of making childhood dreams come true for grown-ups.

Almost everyone loves a treehouse. I built a simple one (it did have a trap door) for our son when he was small and ended up spending more time in it than he did.

And some of my fondest childhood memories at Ferncliff Church Camp in Ferndale was the year we had the large treehouse out in the woods that was built for overnight camping out.

That one was just a simple platform about nine 9 feet off the ground, but it was still swell. The boys of Treehouse Masters would knock one of those out in half an hour.

On the other hand, the magnificent creations designed and shown on Treehouse Masters are highly elaborate affairs, frequently with plumbing and electricity, bedrooms, showers, kitchens, lofts, bridges, decks and budgets exceeding $120,000. They can take up to three weeks to build and that’s with many of the sections constructed ahead of time and trucked to the site.

“Tree whisperer” Pete Nelson is the dreamer behind the series. His home east of Seattle, Treehouse Point, is a bed and breakfast as well as headquarters for his family and business, Nelson Treehouse and Supply. From there, Nelson’s team of carpenters, riggers and builders venture out across the country to make the magic happen.

But what if you don’t have a $100,000 budget to build a little hideaway in the trees? What about something more modest and traditional? That’s what we get with Friday’s special episode airing at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet.

In the episode, Nelson and crew gather at Treehouse Point to build the elements of a back-to-basics child’s treehouse for a close-knit family with special-needs children.

It’s the Laura and Tony Hernandez family of Lake Forest Park, Wash. The couple have four kids under the age of 7 who love to camp in the backyard.

The occupational therapist who works with two of the children suggested a climbing structure to help develop motor skills and a place to focus their energy. Enter Nelson. His gift to the family was a fort-style treehouse the whole family would enjoy and which would help the children grow.

While working on the treehouse, the guys reminisce about their most challenging constructions and their favorite “Pete-isms.”

If you’ve missed some previous offerings, you can view full episodes and see nifty time-lapse videos of Nelson’s treehouses under construction at

More Sookie. I confess that HBO’s True Blood has been shifted to the back burner of my DVR. I’m still recording the shows, but they’re a lower priority for me here in Season 6.

Even after all this time, the series is still enough of a draw (4 million per episode) for HBO to announce that it’ll be back for Season 7. The show will have only 10 episodes this season to accommodate star Anna Paquin’s pregnancy.

More Men. Well, actually, fewer men on Two and a Half Men. Why this show is still on the air baffles me. It’s a bastion of crudity and puerility that ought to be embarrassing to anyone with a modicum of good taste.

But since when did good taste have to do with most of what’s on TV?

At any rate, Two and a Half Men is adding a recurring character to the mix -Jenny, the 21-year-old illegitimate daughter of the late, unlamented Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen). Like Charlie (Harper and Sheen), Jenny likes the ladies.

The role of the lesbian character has yet to be cast, but will likely fill some of the void caused by the curtailing of the part of Jake, played by Angus T. Jones.

The 19-year-old “half man” of the title had a moment of clarity last season. In an online interview in November, Jones said, “Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth.”

According to several sources, Jones was being paid $350,000 per episode to put up with the filth. That’s a stunning $8.4 million a year. As a teen. Who can’t act all that well.

Jones quickly tried to tap dance his way out of his negative statements, but the damage was done. He will still be a recurring guest star, but I’d be surprised if we saw much of him, especially with “sexy and gorgeous” lesbian Jenny around the house.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend, Pages 32 on 07/25/2013